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Action 37: Foster self-regulation in the use of online services

Foster multi-stakeholder dialogue and self-regulation of European and global service providers (e.g. social networking platforms, mobile communications providers), especially as regards use of their services by minors.

What is the problem? Children are not safe online

More and more European children go online via mobile phones and game consoles. More than 50% of 13-16 year olds go online from their bedroom and more than half of 9-16 year olds have a social networking profile. At the same time, young people are a vulnerable group as they do not always see the risks of their online actions such as sharing personal information online or talking to people they have never met in real life. In this rapidly changing context, addressing risks and strengthening the online safety of children is a shared responsibility of individuals as much as of private and public bodies, both at home and globally.

Why is EU action required? EU wide action is needed for children's safety online

Many of the providers of products and services that have an impact on the online safety of children, such as social networking sites, mobile phones, online applications and content or games consoles are global or European players.

A general pan-European approach should be adopted since purely national systems risk producing fragmentation.

What will the Commission do?

In 2011 :

The Commission launched a review of the current self-regulation agreements in the field of protection of minors. To this end, brought together manufacturers of mobile devices and game consoles, Internet service providers, social networking services providers, mobile applications and content providers, consumer organisations, researchers, children' organisations, youth, parents and teachers to identify gaps and new measures that need to be implemented by the industry for the protection and empowerment of youngsters using new technologies. The outcome of the review was the launch of the Coalition to make internet a better place for children on 01 December 2011. 28 major companies joined the Coalition and committed to work on 5 areas: Simple and robust reporting tools for users; age appropriate privacy settings, wider use of content classification; wider availability and use of parental controls and effective takedown of child abuse material.

In June and September the Commission released, in two batches, the results of the 2nd independent assessment of the implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU, the self-regulatory agreement signed by major social networking sites active in Europe in 2009.

In 2012

The Commission will follow up on the implementation of the work plan of the Coalition to make internet a better place for children

Contact:

patricia.manson@ec.europa.eu